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Cincinnati offense too much for Cashner, Padres

Venable, Forsythe launch solo home runs in losing effort

CINCINNATI -- After dropping the final two games of their recent homestand, the Padres took their struggles to Cincinnati, where they opened a three-game set against the Reds with a 7-2 loss on Friday at Great American Ball Park.

Starting pitcher Andrew Cashner gave up five runs (three earned) in five innings, while the Padres mustered just four hits against Reds starter Bronson Arroyo and six total for the game. The offensive woes have been a theme in San Diego's three consecutive losses, in which they've been outscored, 21-6.

"We just got behind the eight ball early," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Arroyo stymied us the first three innings with his assortment of pitches. We just couldn't get anything going early [and] they got to Cash. From there, we couldn't mount anything offensively, and they just kept chipping away at us."

The Padres fell behind three batters into the game, when Joey Votto hit a single to score Todd Frazier, who doubled in the previous at-bat. Although the Reds collected three straight hits against Cashner in the first, that would be the only run scored.

Following a scoreless second, Cashner opened the third inning with a walk to Frazier, and Votto once again made him pay, this time by hitting a triple off the wall in right-center field. Two batters later, Jay Bruce extended the lead to 3-0 with an RBI double.

Meanwhile, the Padres didn't put a runner on base in the first three innings against Arroyo. Chase Headley finally notched a hit with two outs in the fourth, but Yonder Alonso followed with a groundout to end the inning.

"Tonight was a great night for me," Arroyo said. "Just commanded the strike zone and had some good zip on my fastball and a pretty good breaking ball. I got off to a good start the first four innings, it kind of set a nice tone and we scored at least a couple of runs to give me a bit of a cushion."

Logan Forsythe put the Padres on the board in the top of the fifth with a solo shot to left field -- his fifth home run of the season. However, that was the only run San Diego scored against Arroyo, who gave up two more hits before leaving after seven innings.

Headley said Arroyo can be tough, because his style is different than most pitchers the Padres are used to seeing.

"He throws so many different pitches from so many different angles," Headley said of Arroyo. "He changes speed. He's just tough. You can't really have a plan against him. It's a crapshoot what you're going to see, and he throws everything for a strike, so you can't just go up there and wait him out."

The Reds' offense continued its support of Arroyo in the fifth, which Votto led off by drawing Cashner's third walk of the game. After a lineout and a strikeout, Chris Heisey connected on a single -- on which Votto scored due to right fielder Will Venable's error -- and came around to score when Forsythe's throw to first sailed high in the next at-bat, putting Cincinnati on top, 5-1.

After forcing a flyout to right to end the inning, Cashner's day was done. In five innings, he gave up seven hits -- four of which went for extra bases -- to go with three strikeouts, as his three-start winning streak was snapped.

Black said Cashner had good stuff on Friday night, but the Reds were able to foul off many of his good pitches while attacking his mistakes. He also said Cashner struggled to put himself in favorable counts, and the 26-year-old right-hander concurred.

"I think that's the biggest thing tonight; I didn't get ahead," Cashner said. "I think from here on out, it's just locating my fastball. Everything goes off my fastball, and the changeup was good tonight. I just got to locate early and late."

Tim Stauffer replaced Cashner in the sixth, and after surrendering a base hit sandwiched between two groundouts, the right-hander offered a 2-1 changeup to Brandon Phillips, who sent the pitch just over the wall in left for a two-run homer.

San Diego tacked on one more run in the eighth on Venable's solo shot to deep center. Although it wasn't enough to help the Padres, Venable extended his hit streak to six games and continued his strong play in the last month. In 19 games since July 14, he is batting .377 (23-for-61) with four homers and six RBIs, which is a positive sign for Black and the Padres as they move forward.

"That's a good sign," Black said. "Here's where you go into the last 40-plus games, and we're going to need Will without [suspended shortstop Everth Cabrera ] at the top of the order and [injured outfielder Carlos Quentin ] going on the disabled list. We're going to need our guys to play better offensively. Those are two guys that impact our offense a lot, so we need all our guys to contribute, and Will obviously is a part of that group."

Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for
Read More: San Diego Padres, Will Venable, Andrew Cashner, Tim Stauffer, Logan Forsythe